This week is all about finishing the 2nd draft of the dissertation, ready to be handed in on Friday. At college, we are also getting ready to do presentations to our peer group, and a mentoring session, where we pass on any advice, tips and general wisdom (!) to the second year students.
One of the features of studying at a small college is that there’s only 8 of us on the entire course (we have no first years, and the course will probably be cut after next year due to Lincoln wanting all their places back because of government funding cuts – it’s all really depressing). The plus side of being such a tiny group is that we have plenty of one-to-one time with our tutors, but sometimes I do wish there were a few more people to bounce ideas off (my fellow students are lovely though!!). While we do tend to discuss our practice regularly with each other, the peer presentations will give us the chance to have a more structured discussion about our work.
I’m still working on my layered structures, and have just finished this small mixed media canvas. I desperately want to create more work but am being sidetracked by the need to make nativity costumes and birthday cakes. If only I could incorporate them into my practice somehow…
December really does need a few more days in it. Family/home life is so busy at the moment and I really don’t know how I’m going to fit in any coursework, unless I give up sleeping. I can feel myself starting to panic, but I’m aware that’s not going to help… just need to get on with it and do the best I can with the little time I have.
I started some larger canvases but they are frustrating me, so have decided to take a break from them, with the plan to return to them later. I think (other than finishing the final draft of my dissertation – deadline is December 10th, which with fantastic timing is also my youngest son’s birthday), my energies need to be focused towards one project at a time. I do have a habit of starting several things at once and then not knowing which to give my attention to. Since the canvases are giving me grief, I’m planning on focusing on some layered structures. I’m excited about getting stuck into making them, so I’m pretty sure this is the right path to choose. I’ll hopefully have some progress pics to post soon!
Disaster has struck! My short experimental animations have somehow vanished off the college computer network. And of course, I hadn’t backed them up. I had hoped that the IT man would be able to retrieve them from wherever they’ve gone, but after trying for quite a while, he had to admit defeat. This is frustrating beyond words, but rather then dwell on what I’ve lost, I’ve tried to focus on redoing the animations. Thankfully, I still have the photographs that were used to make them – if I’d lost those too, I would definitely have cried. Lesson learnt: BACK UP ALL MY FILES (and then back them up again).
I’m still working on a few canvases in between other things. I often worry that my work is too “safe”. But yesterday, we went as a college group to the British Art Show in Nottingham, which served as a reminder that really, anything can be “Art”. I have an undying love for illustration and narrative, so it pleased me to see several illustrative portrait works (ironically illustrative?!). I also loved some of the video pieces – Christian Marclay’s ‘The Clock’ and Elizabeth Price’s ‘User Group Disco (Hall of Sculptures)’.
Here’s the first “cells” stop motion animation (mark II), made using chalk. I have a small MP4 player to play the looped animation on, which will be embedded within a larger mixed media piece of work (still under construction). The plan is to have several different screens playing short animations within the same work.
“cells” stop motion animation (short)
The past couple of weeks have been a little dissertation-heavy, but the first draft has been handed in now so I can breathe a temporary sigh of relief and concentrate mainly on my studio practice for a while. I still feel as though I’m struggling a bit with my life/degree balance… there’s so much I want to do, but I feel like I’m always fighting to find the time to do it all. Prioritisation is needed!
I have been playing with my View-Master, making some DIY reels with images based on my “cells” stop motion animation (still a work in progress). It turns out that making these reels was slightly more problematic than anticipated – but I’m currently working on making the images look 3D, and also experimenting with different ways of creating the images. Future plans involve having a go at modifying the View-Master to hold digital photo frames – I like the idea of a lo-tech/hi-tech combo, and feel it fits in well with the spirit/science theme I’m exploring.
Alongside the View-Master work, I am drawing up some plans for layered structures incorporating animations played on miniature screens (building on some work from last semester). These will be following the same themes, exploring the relationship between the spiritual self (thoughts, memories, emotions etc) and the biological, scientific components that make our physical form.
It’s half term, which means no college for me but also means my boys aren’t at school (which equals mayhem at home!). I have been trying to get on with some painting/creating during the day, dipping in and out of it when I get a chance, and have been saving the dissertation for night time when it’s quiet (although I’m not totally convinced I’m at my most coherent at 11.30pm).
I’ve been working on some small canvases, experimenting with some mixed media (acrylic, pen, pencil, collaged photograph (scanned, not original) and white cotton… and a little bit of chalk). I’m playing around with some ideas about the relationships between our scientific, biological side (our physicality, mortality and genetics) and our emotional, spiritual elements (memories, religion, soul etc). Getting a bit deep and meaningful.
I had a tutorial with my tutor last week, which was really helpful to clarify some of the ideas I’ve been thinking about, and to give me the confidence to go ahead with them. I think I’ve been holding back a bit for fear of doing something ‘wrong’ but I guess you just have to accept that while some ideas will work, others won’t, but rather they might help you figure out a way of doing something different. So I need to stop worrying about things and just do them.